SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Dr Joanna Wolfarth

BA, MA, PhD (University of Leeds), FHEA
  • Teaching
  • Research


IMG - Joanna Wolfarth
Department of History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Visiting Lecturer in Southeast Asian Art

SOAS Centre of South East Asian Studies

Research Associate, SOAS Centre of South East Asian Studies

Dr Joanna Wolfarth
Email address:
Academic Support Hours:
Thursdays 10-12


Joanna Wolfarth is a specialist in Southeast Asian cultural history, with a specific focus on Cambodia. She holds a PhD from the University of Leeds in History of Art. Her thesis interrogated multiple manifestations of divine-royal power, primarily the four-faced architectural-sculptural configurations that comprise the Bayon temple, built by the first Buddhist king of Cambodia in the twelfth century. More recent research has explored the interactions between pre-modern and contemporary visual cultures via questions of archive, citation, materiality and power. This includes writing on contemporary photographic practices and the reuse and digital manipulation of archival images in creating national and individual narratives in Cambodia. Her work has been published in Udaya, The Trans Asia Photography Review and Southeast of Now. In 2019, she co-edited a special issue of Southeast of Now on the theme of ‘archive’, stemming from a conference she co-organised at SOAS in 2017. She is currently working on her first book.

She also has over fifteen years of experience in research-led work in the non-profit and cultural sectors, specialising in development, and research standards and ethics.


  • The `Historical` Buddha: Explorations in Southeast Asian Arts , BA
  • The Figure of the Buddha: Theory, Practice and the Making of Buddhist Art History.


Southeast Asian arts and cultures; Buddhist art and doctrine; Cambodian culture from Angkor to the contemporary period; manifestations of power; photography and technologies of representation and replication; decolonial studies.